It was revealed yesterday, through his personal Instagram account, that Mitch Coleborn would be parting ways with Volcom, his sponsor of 20 years.
First up, 20 years is a solid freaking run, especially in today’s upside-down world. Congrats to both on a long and successful partnership of which has been highly entertaining for surf fans like us.
And, a special call-out to Mitch for such a graceful, classy message on his way out the door. Take note kids.
In many ways, this parting represents an end of an era of sorts, as well as a parallel timeline of What Youth’s existence. Ya see Mitch, through his associations with Kai Neville, was a huge part of our humble beginnings. Often a major player in Kai’s video projects, Mitch, via that association, was also front and center to what we were doing in print or on the web.
Mitch just fit.
But also during that same period so much would change in how a brand might promote itself. Remember, Mitch’s “era” began well before the ‘gram would get started so brands back then were still relying on more traditional methods of promotion. The Volcom film library is stuff of legend with Wooly, Troy, and the boys making an art form out of creating stars from what were often guys who might have been seen as a gamble. Volcom embraced the unique and in many ways formed the company image around the characters other companies passed on as too risky or not of a viable return on investment.
And, it worked brilliantly for the brand.
Mitch enjoyed some success on the QS and came very damn close to a CT qualification a few years back, but that was never going to be where he is best appreciated. No, get the man on a boat in Indo with the crew and let him do his thing. Both in the water and out.
That’s the Mitch we look forward to seeing more of.
There have been some interesting signals coming from the old Quik building on Monrovia ever since Volcom was acquired, yet again. It’s a pretty small world within the couple of mile square grid of Westside Costa Mesa streets that was once called the “Velcro Valley” due to its proliferation of surf brands that called it home.
So yeah, you tend to hear some stuff.
During the COVID crisis, it’s been well documented that a blood bath has been underway for many brands either with employee layoffs, or the team, often both, of which has cast a pall over the whole industry. Driving past some of the concrete monoliths that once housed surfing’s biggest brands is downright depressing these days. It’s still weird not seeing Bob’s car out front of Hurley at 7:00 am every morning.
Do we even know anyone in there anymore?
Of late, the commercial gentrification of the whole area has pushed out many of the small start-ups that used to flourish here, to be replaced with boutique coffee shops and other consumer-based businesses which unfortunately drive up much higher building rents. Yep, a few shaping bays and glass shops still exist, but as those rents soar the manufacturing element is definitely disappearing from what once was actually a flourishing boat building hub many years ago.
The smell of resin is quickly being replaced with that of a soy latte.
Years from now we will surely look back on the “COVID Cull” of 2020 as a major disruption to the norm and being far from the end of the tunnel, it would seem, who knows what else is still to be shaken from the tree.
Unfortunately, we probably haven’t seen the last of relationships like the one between Mitch and Volcom come to an end.
Last, we don’t think for one minute this signals any type “retirement” for Mitch, but just a closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. In celebration of Mitch’s contribution to not just What Youth, but to surfing in general, we’ve attached below some of the work Mitch did with us over the years for your enjoyment.
Thanks for coming along for the ride Mitch. Look forward to what’s next.